In an extremely sad turn of events, IDIA scholar and student from Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) Gandhinagar, Jumika Yeptho, succumbed to tuberculosis on Thursday afternoon. The body of Jumika, who hailed from Nagaland, has been taken home by his family members, where his funeral ceremony will be conducted on Friday.
Unfortunately, Jumika faced many prejudices, to the extent that his own batchmates were of the belief that Jumika was hospitalised for drug use. However, as per Prof. Shamnad Basheer, founder of IDIA, who visited Jumika in the hospital during his last days, attests that this was merely hearsay and none of his batchmates could vouch for having seen him taking drugs. Further, all his drug-use tests conducted by the doctors came out to be negative. 30-40% of his brain had been affected by the bacteria.
This is what Prof. Basheer has to say about Jumika:
‘Jumika was exceptional in more ways than one. His cousin, Zimomi narrated an interesting story to me. Apparently, in Sainik school (where Jumika studied till class 11), he took on a teacher who was woefully pathetic at teaching and never made an effort to improve. He complained to his principal, who asked him to withdraw his complaint or face the consequences. Jumika didn’t budge, and was expelled from school! He had to join another school midway through term and still managed to clear his exams with good marks and finally make it to law school after cracking CLAT. We’ve clearly lost someone with spunk. And the courage and conviction to make a difference.
Even as we reflect on how we failed him at IDIA, let’s also celebrate a bit of his legacy (at least what little we knew of him). We’re planning to put together a short book with some of these stories and narratives from family and friends who knew him well.
In the end, while we grieve at the loss of one of our very own, let’s also firm up our commitment to locate more such gems hidden in India’s interiors. And ensure that they stay safe and free of prejudice, so as to blossom to their fullest potential.’